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Giles County

After a parent declined a homeschool liaison’s request indicating they “typically require” a date of birth on a NOI, she received a letter indicating that she was approved to homeschool. Additionally, the letter referred to the NOI as an “application” and referenced religious exemption as a process relating to the homeschool law.

HEAV reached out to the superintendent and the homeschool liaison to clarify the differences between the home instruction and religious exemption laws and requirements. The superintendent provided a prompt and courteous response to thank us for sharing the information and ensure they will make the necessary changes to their processes moving forward. HEAV is thankful to Giles County for this positive resolution.

What You Should Know:

  • In 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court reaffirmed that public school districts may not add to the requirements of the law; only the state legislature can do so. The law does not require parents to provide information that goes beyond what the statute requires.
  • Public school districts do not have the statutory authority to approve a parent’s decision to enroll in a private school, hire a Virginia-certified tutor, or homeschool. Under the homeschool statute, parents are required to notify the superintendent of their intent to homeschool. The superintendent’s responsibility is to ensure parents have met the requirements of the homeschool law. It is common practice for districts to send a letter to parents acknowledging receipt of their notice of intent, but the law does not require them to do so.
  • Home Instruction is a way to comply with compulsory attendance law whereas religious exemption is an exemption from compulsory attendance law. These are different laws with different legal requirements.
    The law assigns to the school board, not the superintendent, the responsibility of processing a religious exemption from compulsory attendance.

Reference: (§22.1-254 §22. -254(A), §22.1-254(B)(1), §22.1-254.1, §22.1-254.1(B)Sosebee v. Franklin County School Board, HEAV article Religious Exemption Demystified)

HEAV is always available should you ever have questions or need assistance. Please contact us anytime at 804-278-9200 or via our contact form.

Patricia Beahr
Assistant Director of Government Affairs

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